Space is super weird. It smells funny, it’s full of odd shapes, and it’s much more gross than you could have ever imagined. There are so many surprising facts about outer space that just seem made up, like the fact that it smells like raspberries, or that Saturn’s rings disappear. As weird as that space trivia sounds, it’s 100% true. Historical theories about space are absolutely bonkers, but as bananas as they sound, they’re not far off from some of the surprising space facts that you’ll find on this round up of super weird ephemera about the solar system.
Outer space is super creepy. It’s an empty expanse of dust, gaseous beings, and dead satellites floating in their own graveyards. You may find many of the following space facts to be awe inspiring, but there are a few pieces of knowledge on here that will definitely make you change your mind about booking a ticket to Mars any time soon. Unless you like the idea of midnight ice bursts and the possibility of suffocating in your sleep.
Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin made quite the impression on the moon when they took their first steps across its gentle white face. You've probably seen photos of their footprints crunched into the moon's surface and thought, "What's the big deal?"
Unlike footprints on Earth that are eventually done away with by wind, rain, and general erosion, the Apollo 11 footprints will be there for millions of years. There's no wind on the moon to blow the footprints away, and the lack of an atmosphere means that all of the water on the moon is ice. Those footprints are there to stay until the moon explodes or a meteor smashes into its surface.
It's rare that something is so weird, terrifying, and cool at the same time, but the concept of cold welding manages to be one of the most confounding things about space. Cold welding, also know as contact welding, occurs in vacuums when the atoms of different items touch and because the atoms don't realize that they belong to different pieces of metal, they actually stick together forever. You can technically accomplish this on earth, but you would need to construct a vacuum with a super clean room and use tools coated to prevent them from sticking to whatever you're working on.
No matter how sad or lonely astronauts may get while they're orbiting the earth, they try to keep their emotions bottled up so as not to cover their eyeballs in disgusting tears. In zero gravity, there's nowhere for tears to go so they just congeal over your eye like some kind of grosser, soaking wet, version of rheum. NASA spacewalk officer Allison Bollinger explained, "They actually kind of conglomerate around your eyeball." Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield explained the phenomena on Twitter to an emotionally curious fan.
@dkiazyk Can you cry in space? Your eyes make tears but they stick as a liquid ball. In fact, they sting a bit. So - space tears don't shed.— Chris Hadfield (@Cmdr_Hadfield) January 8, 2013
As you know, Mars is a big red planet with a very thin atmosphere that's mostly made up of iron. It's not the kind of place where you expect to find snow drifting through the sky. However, in 2008, NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander discovered heavy precipitation in the atmosphere of the red planet. The incredibly cold nighttime temperatures on the planet cause an instability in the atmosphere cause small, localized, ice bursts that are similar to heavy bouts of snowfall. Researchers wrote, "In our simulations, convective snowstorms occur only during the Martian night, and result from atmospheric instability due to radiative cooling of water-ice cloud particles.”